On a visit to Calabria in southern Italy this weekend, Pope Francis took up a theme he has been developing for some time - orgnaised crime. He declared the Mafia 'excommunicated', Vatican Radio reports.
Pope Francis concluded his one-day trip to the region with strong words against the Calabrian Mafia, the 'Ndrangheta, calling it 'adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.'
'Those who in their lives have taken this evil road, this road of evil, such as the mobsters, they are not in communion with God, they are excommunicated,' he said to applause.
The Pope made the statements at a Saturday service marking the feast of Corpus Domini on the plains of the small town of Sibari, a once-important city in the Hellenistic period of Calabrian history.
Organisers planned for 200,000 faithful to attend who gathered under the hot sun, with temperatures flirting around the 30-degree mark.
Sitting in the first rows of the assembly were those with illness and disability, rather than local dignitaries—a decision the local bishop chose to underline ahead of the Pope's trip.
It is not the first time the Pope has spoken out against the Mafia, CNN adds. In March in Rome at a meeting with families of victims, the Pope called directly on Mafia bosses to repent, saying 'hell ... awaits you if you continue on this road.'
Pope: mafiosi are excommunicated, not in communion with God (Vatican Radio)
Pope’s admonition against torture: “It is a mortal sin” (Vatican Insider)
Pope Francis says don't legalise drugs (The Guardian)